blog overview
Goal Setting
Hasse Jansen, 31 Jul '17

Strategic Management in 3 Easy Steps

Successful strategic management is about creating effective routines. Here’s how to formulate and implement goals in three straightforward steps.  

Managing your strategy starts with setting goals the right way. We can’t tell you which exact goals to pursue, but we do know there is a specific way to set goals that will help you achieve those goals.

We’ve all experienced how planning strategy is quite easy, but actually executing your plans is very difficult. To make all your ‘dreams’ become a reality, you need to set and update goals in a specific way.

The network of goals that make up your strategy needs to be flexible to remain relevant, but it needs to be well structured to keep it coherent throughout the year.

It may take some getting used to at first, but it will soon become second nature. And the rewards for proper strategic management are staggering.

Goals as the center of the business universe

Successful strategic management revolves around goals. Every strategy, plan, program or task is there to achieve a goal.

The benefits of proper goal setting are huge. Stats show that, when you do it right, goal setting really works. We put the results from a popular scientific study in one single overview.

As it turns out, ‘writing goals down’, ‘formulating action commitments’, ‘writing progress reports’, and ‘sending those to a supportive friend’ makes you almost twice as likely to achieve your goal as ‘just thinking about a goal’ does.


goal setting effectiveness stats

The most popular goal setting method is the SMART goal approach. The SMART acronym stands for…

smart goals acronymQuite many companies have made an effort to make SMART goals a part of their daily routine…

  • 36%of organizations have a standard, enterprise-wide approach to goal-setting.
  • 80%of managers say that their goals are limited in number, specific, and measurable and that they have the funds needed to achieve them

What successful strategic management looks like

These are the 3 steps you need to take to manage strategy in an organized way.

Step 1: Define goals

Step 2: Define strategy

Step 3: Update goals weekly

All clear? Let’s go! 

1. Define goals - Drafts, KPIs and Goal Canvases

A. Define your first preliminary goal

There are two ways to start drafting your first goal. You could…

  • Start reasoning from your current activities
  • Think up an entirely new goal from scratch.

Whatever you do, don’t become too nitpicky. This is only a draft goal. We’ll get into the details later on.

When reasoning from current activities:

Collect tasks and vaguely described aspirations from presentations and spreadsheets you have lying around. Take into account all campaigns, all collateral… all everything!

Then, look for a pattern in what you’re trying to achieve when performing these activities. Is there an overarching commercial goal you pursue when performing the majority of tasks?

That should be your draft goal. Write it down.

When you think up an entirely new goal. 

Ask yourself: ‘what do I care about?’, or ‘what does my company or department or team care about?’ ‘What do your customers care about most?’. Why are we doing all this? What are we trying to achieve? When would our company be successful? When would I be proud of myself?

That should be your draft goal. Write it down.

If you want to do this exercise in a workshop, here is a One Day Workshop template.

B. Find your KPI to measure achievement

Are you happy with the draft goal you’ve just written down? Now it’s time to make sure you’ll know when you’ve achieved it.

Reaching meaningful goals starts with measuring the right thing. It is absolutely paramount to find the right Key Performance Indicator for every goal.

How do you know if you’ve found the right metric? Take a task or a activity you are working today and simply ask ‘Why’ until you hit the KPI.

Here's what you should do:

  • Ask ‘why’ you pursue your draft goal.
  • Continue to ask ‘why?’
  • But don’t stop now! Ask Why? until you basically can’t go any further.

Look for a goal that can stand on itself. The achievement of this goal should have value in itself, and the achievement of only this goal should be something to be proud of.

For instance, ‘making flawless presentations’ isn’t a good goal in itself. What are you trying to achieve by consistently delivering ‘flawless presentations’? Most of the time, good goals can be expressed in terms of changed customer behavior.

To help you find the right KPI, we’ve created an entire interactive KPI library, featuring 129 of the most popular marketing metrics. KPIs are categorized by funnel stage, making it easy to navigate. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t look bad either.

KPI library funnel

C. Create complete goals using a canvas

 Now you’ve got your first measureable draft goal ready, let’s take it one step further. Let’s set some more detailed goals. We’ve created 3 different goal canvases for you to print out: basic, intermediate, and advanced.

 Try Boardview for FREE. Sign up Now!  

Which one is best for you depends on your specific needs. Each template has a different level of detail, and different features. Here’s an overview of their pros and cons.

#1: Basic

Pros – Good exercise to practice shaping your SMART Goal setting skills. It’s easy to create a logical structure within your goals. It includes the Definition of Success (DoS).

Cons – Specifying ownership is not possible. That makes it hard to prioritize or track progress e.g. by sending colleagues regular progress updates. Therefore, there is no real accountability ensured. 

Definition of Success Boardview

#2: Intermediate 

Pros - Easy to build a simple team strategy in the shape of a goal tree. You might want team members to combine their goals into a team strategy, or start from scratch. Impact & Effort allow you to see where most value is created.

Cons - This model does also not allow you to accurately track progress, so sending colleagues regular updates can get messy quickly. Therefore, there is no real accountability ensured. Also, specifying ownership is not possible. That makes it hard to prioritize or track progress e.g. by sending colleagues regular updates. Therefore, there is no real accountability ensured. 

Goal setting template 1

#3: Advanced 

Pros - Good for when you want to take goal setting to the next level. It includes the Definition of Success, Goal Owner and Goal ROI (impact vs effort). Additionally you can indicate goal status (ideation - archived), and it gives you the ability to track goal and task progress in bars.

Cons - Prioritizing goals as well as tracking progress accurately may prove tedious to do manually many times over.

goal setting template 2 advanced

As you start working with printed goal canvases, you’ll notice that keeping goals updated becomes quite complex very soon. The Boardview app helps to keep everybody informed about newest insights in goal achievement at all times.

Writing goals in the Boardview app is comparable to writing goals on paper canvases, but better. The Boardview Goal Card is made to feel like you’re reading a coherent mission statement in a few short sentences. This is what a blank card looks like:

Working with smart goals templateRemember the SMART goal graphic we showed you earlier? This is how the SMART acronym fits into the Boardview Goal Card.

smart goals in boardview

2. Define Strategy - Build your first ‘Goal Tree’

You now have a bunch of inspiring but unconnected goals lying around. But defining one or a couple of goals in (some level of) detail doesn’t make a strategy. To create a workable strategy, you have to create a coherent network of goals.

A good Goal Tree visualizes how your goals fit together (or how they don’t). It shows you the causal relationships between different commercial goals, and how to-be-performed tasks contribute to achieving those goals.

Here’s what you should do: “ask ‘Why’ So I can”.

  • Have your team members compare their draft goals
  • Ask them to look for overlap in KPIs
  • Shift around goal cards to discover causal relationships
  • See your strategy tree grow

In the Boardview app, it looks like this...

strategic management agile goalsWe’ve created a one-day workshop for this as well.

3. Update goals weekly - Keep goals relevant

We’ve all experienced how an exciting new strategy quickly becomes outdated. Your company’s business environment always turns out to be that little bit more unpredictable than expected.

There’s no use fighting change. Resistance is futile. You have to move with the world around you. To successfully execute a strategy in a turbulent environment, your systems need to be designed to react to change. There needs to be a reliable standard procedure to help adjust to new insights, periodically.

To help you stay on course with strategic management, we’ve developed a meeting to update strategic goals in a consistent way. We called it the Weekly Speed Update.

If you’re familiar with the Daily Standup, that’s great. The Weekly Speed Update is related to it, but entirely different at the same time. The ‘Daily’ focuses more on today’s team tasks, while the ‘Weekly’ is concerned with management’s strategic goals of the future.

View the exact difference between the Daily Standup and the Weekly Speed Update below….

Strategy meeting speed updateThe Weekly Speed Update helps everyone to speak the language of the manager. Showing your manager that a sprint is on track, is rarely a problem. But does your manager care? Probably not. Your manager only wants to be sure that the Sprint results are in line with the commercial targets.

boardview app goal progress graph

The (bi-)weekly meeting is used to report progress to managers, measured in amount of leads, appointments, conversions, CTR’s, market share, revenue, growth, etc… or whichever KPI you picked when you filled out your Goal Card earlier on.

Take the three strategic management steps:

To sum it all up…

Step 1: Define goals

Step 2: Define strategy

Step 3: Update goals weekly

Inspired to step your strategic management game up? Try the Boardview app!


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